Information About Medication

The decision to use medication can be complicated and involves thoughtful consideration. As more is understood about the interface between psychological and biochemical processes, we know that a variety of treatment options can lead to a positive outcome. Sometimes medication is the most helpful way to address a problem, and other times psychotherapy is the more useful approach. Still other times, a combination of psychotherapy and medication offers the best option for relieving a person’s emotional stress.

Medication can be effective in symptom relief. However, individuals differ in their response to medication. Benefits and side effects must always be weighed. 

If you are considering medication, it is a good idea to explore your feelings about it and to get information so you know what to expect. If you are working with a psychotherapist, she/he can help you with a referral to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. The psychiatrist will be able to give you information about available options, possible side effects and likely results of different medications to assist you in making your decision. He/she will also likely tell you that finding the best medication for you may take some time because everyone’s body chemistry is different. The effect of the medication cannot be completely predicted without a trial.

When choosing a psychiatrist, you might find similar considerations useful as when choosing a therapist. It can be helpful to ask yourself:

  • Is this person a qualified physician with experience in prescribing medications for the treatment of psychological/biochemical issues?
  • Does she/he provide me with the information I need to make a decision?
  • Do I feel comfortable enough to voice any concerns or ask any questions I might have?
  • Is he/she responsive to my concerns and available to monitor the medication’s efficacy and side effects?

A Reminder: Medications should never be self-prescribed and should only be taken under the supervision of a medical doctor.


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